Prospective Student FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my financial aid change each year?
Each year, for domestic students (citizens and eligible non-citizens of the U.S.), a family's financial data are collected and recalculated to determine the financial aid eligibility for the upcoming academic year. At a minimum, students should expect to have the same parent contribution in future years. However, when significant changes occur - e.g., increases in family income or assets, fewer number of dependents supported or fewer dependent children attending undergraduate institutions - the family contribution will increase. Should there be significant decreases in income/assets or an increase in household size or the number of dependent children attending undergraduate institutions, students may request reductions in the family contribution. All students should expect the loan amount in the financial aid package to increase each year based on federal loan maximums and College packaging policies.

Will I get a less favorable financial aid package if I apply Early Decision?
No. The amount of financial aid will not vary for students who apply Early or Regular Decision. 

Is my financial aid package negotiable?
We do not negotiate financial aid packages. However, if there is a change in your family's financial circumstances that was not considered during our original review, we will re-examine the situation. You may submit a Request for Reconsideration if financial circumstances have changed or there are special circumstances to consider.

My parents are divorced. Do they both need to submit information?
Yes. We consider parents as having the primary responsibility for their daughter's education regardless of divorce, separation or the fact that they were never married. As a result we require both the custodial and noncustodial parents, and stepparents if the custodial parent is remarried, to submit financial data and tax returns yearly.  We will review a request to waive the noncustodial parent's information however we are unable to waive the non custodial parent information except under extreme circumstances. Please see our policies on divorce, separated or never married parents for more information.

What is Mount Holyoke College's policy on domestic partners?
Dependent students' biological and adoptive parents' domestic partners and independent students' domestic partners also submit financial information to Student Financial Services for the purposes of determining eligibility for institutional need-based aid.

Can I be considered an independent student?
It is a rare exception that a traditionally aged student is granted independent status. This is because we consider a student and her family as primarily responsible for her education. It is important to know that if a student initially receives financial aid as a dependent student she will be considered a dependent student regardless of changes in family relationships. This includes a student who chooses to become independent of parents or to marry while in college or who has left the College then returned after a number of years. Please contact us if you believe you have unique circumstances that should be considered.

Is Mount Holyoke College "need-aware" or "need-sensitive"?
Need-aware, also known as need-sensitive, is a policy in which a student's financial resources are considered along with her other admission criteria. Mount Holyoke College employs this policy for students who fall at the margin of the admitted applicant pool. Because there are occasions when the level of required institutional support must be considered, students must indicate their intention of applying for financial aid at the time they submit their admission application.